How to say “support”? Apoyar vs. soportar vs. mantener

If you need some support in Spanish, this post is here for you.

Apoyar is used in the sense of backing/supporting. You can use the verb apoyar for people and ideas. Remember to use the ‘personal a’ when talking about supporting a person.


Tengo que viajar a Nueva York para apoyar a nuestro amigo que está pasando por un momento duro. – I have to go to New York to support our friend who is going through a rough time.

Tus padres siempre estarán allí para apoyarte. – Your parents will always be there to support you.

La científica apoyó su teoría con los resultados de varios estudios. – The scientist supported her theory with results from various studies.

In addition, apoyar is used for objects when one object is resting on another.


Puedes apoyar la escalera en la pared para que no se caiga. – You can support/lean the ladder on the wall so that it doesn’t fall.

This is in contrast to soportar, which when used for objects, means to support or take on the weight of something else.


Las paredes soportan bien el techo de la casa vieja. – The walls support the ceiling of the old house well.

Soportar, now that we’re on the subject, can take the meaning mentioned above of supporting another object and its weight, and it can also mean to stand as in withstanding someone or something or to put up with.


¿Cómo soportas la falta de respecto de tus hijos? – How do you put up with the lack of respect from your children?

¡Ya no lo soporto! – I can’t stand it anymore!

As a side note, the verb aguantar has a virtually similar meaning when used in this sense of standing/bearing/putting up with someone or something or as withstanding.


¡Ya no lo aguanto! – I can’t bear it anymore!

Puedes aguantar el dolor si no piensas en él. – You can withstand the pain if you don’t think about it.

Aguantar also can mean to withstand the weight of something, and this is really the extent to which it is related to the sense of supporting.


Después de unos siglos, la columnas ya no podían aguantar el peso de la estructura. – After some centuries, the columns were no longer able to support/withstand the weight of the structure.

Mantener means to support, only in the sense of supporting financially and providing a home. It has multiple other meanings as well.


Aunque parecía a veces imposible, Rúben mantenía a su familia con sus tres trabajos. – Although it sometimes seemed impossible, Ruben supported his family with his three jobs.

Mis padres no me pueden mantener mientras que estoy estudiando en la universidad. – My parents cannot support me while I’m at university.

You can also use apoyar financieramente to mean support financially. This is more in the sense of providing economic support/aid.


La compañía está dispuesta a apoyar financieramente la construcción del centro comunitario. – The company is willing to financially support the construction of the community center.

Example with both terms in the same sentence:

Si la organización no nos hubiera apoyando financieramente, no hubiéramos podido mantener a nuestra familia. – If the organization had not supported us financially, we would not have been able to support our family.

I hope this has supported you in your study of Spanish!

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